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PDA Protector Review
By Ed Hardy
The Kensington PDA Protector is an aluminum hardcase. There is a version for the Palm m500 series and V series, and another that fits most Visor models.
It offers a different design from most hard cases. Instead of opening to the left like a book, it opens upwards. This means it works as well for left-handed people as right-handed.
The top doesn't fold around all the way to the back. It does open more than 180 degrees, wide enough that you can lay the case completely flat on a table or desk.
The case itself is shaped to hold the handheld in. The back plate bends up to form the sides and even continues slightly onto the front, forming a sort-of cradle for the palmtop.
You put the handheld in by opening the case as wide as possible and sliding it in from the top, under the two side holders.
The entire interior of the PDA Protector is covered with some kind of artificial velvet-type stuff. This means you don't scratch up the finish on your handheld by rubbing metal against metal.
I was only able to test this with an m505 and it fit perfectly. I heard from someone who tried one of these with his m500 and thought it was too loose because that model is a bit thinner than the m505.
The top is held closed with a couple of small magnets. This seems quite secure and I prefer this to Velcro because magnets don't wear out.
The handheld is completely usable while still in its case. The cover, when flipped open, makes it a bit top heavy when held but I don't think that's a big deal. The stylus is easily accessible. The infrared port can still be used; the front cover even forms a nice resting place to put the second handheld. I found I needed to slide the handheld up a bit in the case to get at the SD slot.
However, because the serial port is blocked, you have to take the case out to put the handheld into its cradle. If you really want to you can avoid this by HotSyncing via infrared but there is no other alternative for charging the battery. Still, since taking the palmtop out of the case is so easy, it's not a big deal.
However, I am a bit concerned that sliding the handheld in and out of the case every day will eventually wear down the interior lining until the aluminum is rubbing on the handheld's body. This isn't even close to happening with my demo model but it is a possibility in the future.
The PDA Protector is a darn good-looking case. It looks very professional, closed or open. The m500/V series model comes in either Platinum or Blue Ice. Translated, that means dark gray or blue. The Visor version is Graphite, read black. These are just highlight colors, being used only on the back, sides, and the small part of the sides that extends onto the front. The front cover is light gray for all models.
It feels as good as it looks. The aluminium has been rubberized so it isn't too slick and feels very comfortable in the hand. The coating also means it won't slide off your desk as easily, too.
Like any case, the PDA Protector adds a slight bit of bulk to the handheld. It is 4.75 by 3.4 by .6 inches, while the m505 is 4.5 by 3.1 by .5 inches. I think this is close to being as small as a case can be and provide any kind of protection. It is roughly as thick as the m505 with the leather flip cover that comes with it. Naturally, the Visor version is larger.
This case seems reasonably rigid and I can see it protecting your palmtop if someone sat or even stepped on it. I have no idea if it would be enough to save your handheld if you dropped it down the stairs. If anyone would like to contribute a working m505 for this test, please let me know. I'm not going to try it with my own. At least not deliberately.
At this time, its not available anywhere online that I could find. Even Kensington doesn't have any in stock. They do list a group of webstores but I got exasperated with searching through all the sites before I found even one that was selling it online. So far, the only people I've heard of who have these have found them in electronics stores. If you want one, you'll probably have to call around in your area looking for it.
At $30, the PDA Protector is much less expensive than its rivals and its stylish exterior will appeal to almost everyone. No two ways about it, this is really an excellent case.
A Lost Cause
Also on the label is a phone number and website that the person who finds the item can use to get into contact with StuffBak. They then contact you and send you your property back.
It doesn't cost anything unless you actually get an item returned. StuffBak then charges you $15 plus shipping charges, if any.
I'm in favor of any service that can help people get their lost valuables returned, especially if it only costs anything if you actually use it.
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